Taurua proud of Lightning despite decider defeat
Despite a club record-defeat in the season-decider, Lightning coach Noeline Taurua says there's still plenty for the club to proud about.
The Swifts were crowned Super Netball champions after trouncing Lightning by 17 goals, 64-47, at Brisbane Entertainment Centre yesterday.
The Swifts' success spoilt Lightning's shot at a third-straight title and what could have been a magic send-off for coach Noeline Taurua.
The Lightning made a shaky start and weren't able to overcome Swifts, who took their game to new levels of dominance in each quarter.
Swifts led by four goals after the first quarter, by eight at half-time, 10 at three-quarter time and 17 by full-time.
"You've always got to give respect to the opposition and I thought they were sublime right from the start," Taurua said.
"They played well and deserved the win.
"There were moments where we sort of came back into it and there were opportunities that presented but we weren't able to capitalise on it."
After an injury-ravaged year, which included a season-ending injury to captain Maddy Proud, Swifts coach Briony Akle said she was proud of what her charges had achieved.
"I just think with what we've been though all year and to get to this point (was amazing)," she said.
"(I said) let's celebrate it and enjoy the moment and I think these guys did that and they went out there and looked at the crowd, soaked it all in and finally we followed the game plan - it was the old cliche of (playing for) 60 minutes but we did it, so I'm very proud."
She said they'd done plenty of analysis of Lightning leading into the clash on top of on-court training sessions.
"We actually really focused in on what their connections were and where we could shut them down through that game and I thought we did that really early on," she said.
"They're a championship team - even though we were 10 goals up I never thought we had it won."
Swifts goalshooter Sam Wallace was named 'player of the grand final' after a stunning effort under the post, shooting at 91 per cent accuracy (40/44).
In a bid to shake things up, Lightning used their full bench during the clash, especially in their attacking end.
A goalless Stephanie Wood was subbed for Peace Proscovia late in the opening quarter and returned just before halftime in a swap for Cara Koenen.
Koenen was put back on for Proscovia in the third with the defensive end getting a change-up as well with Jacqui Russel replacing Maddy McAuliffe.
Annika Lee-Jones got her chance late in the final stanza, replacing Phumza Maweni.
While they went down in disappointing fashion, Taurua was pleased with Lightning's campaign and overall journey over the past three years.
It was her final game at the helm, as she plans to head back to New Zealand for family reasons.
"It didn't go our way and there were some people that were upset but I'm hugely proud of not only our team but the growth of our players and also our club," she said.
"Yes we didn't come out with it but like always people are going to learn and that's what it's all about."
Koenen shot at 85 per cent accuracy (23/27) and Proscovia at 89 per cent (16/18).
Karla Pretorius had three intercepts and her defensive partner Phumza Maweni snared two.
Langman fed the circle 39 times.